Print 35 comment(s) - last by jarman.. on Jan 9 at 1:34 PM

Microsoft's Xbox 360 bulks up even more

Early Friday morning, a story made its way over to Engadget detailing the next generation Xbox 360 console. Engadget showed a single image of the I/O ports on the back of console complete with a new HDMI port. The story also noted that Zephyr would feature a cool-running 65 nanometer IBM Xenon PowerPC processor and larger 120GB hard drive. The leaked details of the upgraded hardware on the Xbox 360 have lead to furious debates online spreading to sites like AnandTech, Engadget and Xbox-Scene.

But that is not all that Microsoft has in store for Xbox 360 owners this year. The other half of Microsoft’s grand scheme, a serious Microsoft bid for the IPTV market, was leaked on early Saturday by Dean Takahashi. Takahashi, a blogger for A+E Interactive, has always had excellent access to industry leaders including NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsuan Huang and Microsoft COO Kevin Turner.

Microsoft today confirmed what was earlier reported by Takahashi -- the Xbox 360 will not only serve as a game console, Media Center Extender and a portal for TV show/movie downloads, but it will also serve as an IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) device.

Although Microsoft made no official announcement of providers for IPTV service on the Xbox 360, AT&T already uses Microsoft IPTV software and is likely to jump onboard. And with services like video-on-demand (VOD) and digital video recording likely to be provided, it makes perfect sense that Microsoft would be likely be pushing a larger 120GB hard drive instead of the "paltry" 20GB currently in service.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 currently has the ability of streaming high-definition content through the use of a Windows Media Center PC. IPTV allows users to take advantage of high-definition TV programming over a standard broadband connection without the need for a PC. Microsoft says that the service will roll out later this year.

The addition of IPTV on the Xbox 360 platform would give Microsoft a distinct advantage over its Japanese rivals. Consumers will now having gaming, access to PC multimedia content, online access to music/music videos, downloadable TV shows and movies,  IPTV with PVR and VOD and the option of HD DVD playback with the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive all from a single console. Microsoft is truly attempting to make the Xbox 360 the multimedia centerpiece for your connected home and this may just be the icing on the cake.

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By quiksilv3r on 1/8/2007 4:27:24 AM , Rating: 3
It's almost complete...
Now just give it an interchangeable/replaceable hdd and i'll go buy one right when it comes out.

RE: Holy...
By swatX on 1/8/2007 5:45:38 AM , Rating: 2

cant wait to get this version when it comes out!

RE: Holy...
By camix on 1/8/2007 8:58:04 AM , Rating: 2
No need, if you got the cash you could get a Windows Home Server. Then you'll pretty much have unlimited space for your Xbox 360 via your home network. Check the info about it at either one of these:

RE: Holy...
By otispunkmeyer on 1/8/2007 9:38:17 AM , Rating: 2
isnt IPTV useless unless you have good internet?

i know the UK and the US are abit behind in the internet stakes.

i only have 4mb at home and NTL only provide 10mb max with their cable service and even then it has a 75Gb a month limit. the 2 and 4mb options do not have limits

other companies offer up to 16Mb, but they use ADSL technology and use a standard/usually decrepid BT telephone line. your speed then depends on distance from the exchange and line quality. my experience with ADSL was horrid. didnt run at its proper speed and lag was such an issue that online games were a no no

RE: Holy...
By borowki on 1/8/2007 10:34:48 AM , Rating: 2
No, IPTV doesn't go through the Internet. It's just uses the IP protocol for communication between the set-top box and the content server. The pipe is essentially dedicated to video.

RE: Holy...
By afkrotch on 1/8/2007 12:56:26 PM , Rating: 2
ummm....IP. Internet Protocol. Guess what, it does go through the internet. Do you really think in every case, a user will get a direct connection to the content server? No, many ppl will end up having to get their signal through the internet.

Now a small ISP will end up having a dedicated portion of your bandwith set aside for IPTV. This isn't the case, for the over 2000 free IPTV stations available in the world, where connecting to them would affect the undedicated portion of your bandwith.

RE: Holy...
By borowki on 1/8/2007 2:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
Don't say jack when you don't know jack. I don't think you even know what IPTV is. Take a look at this Microsoft PowerPoint presentation:

Note that in slide 3, it says "Delivery over a closed IP, QOS enabled network." Really, it's pretty obvious that you can't route the data through the Internet if you want quality comparable to cable.

RE: Holy...
By AxemanFU on 1/9/2007 11:50:30 AM , Rating: 2
Amen. The IPTV fiber, or fiber hybrid networks, which already have over a million customers in Europe and a couple of hundred thousand in the US, have more than adequate bandwidth for HD programming using the IP protocols on a DEDICATED network. The IPTV is usually part of the total bandwidth of somethingl like 30-40mbps to each customer. Part is reserved for an HD channel or two, and part is for conventional internet service, and probably part for VOIP, too. The IP data exchanges on the IPTV portion of the network are shunted onto the regular "internet" at a pop location at regional hubs, while the entire IPTV portion remains on a network that is entirely dedicated to video. The bandwidth is massive, and local and regional video server locations ensure the entire network is not burdened with baindwidth requirements. Your video content comes from the nearest node containing the requested programming.

The point is, for effective IPTV, you have to have substantial bandwidth per customer back to the regional or area node that contains the programming servers. Wave division mulitplexing on fibers, and passive optical fiber networks, or networks hybridized with copper or coax for the last couple thousand feet are the only way to get the required bandwidth.

Sadly for the cable companies, they are way behind in getting that type of infrastructure deployed. Cable can do HD, or digital cable, but it is currently crammed into a bunch of analog channels, and is an analog video system for the most part. It cannot do any of the innovative things an IP network will soon be capable of. Neither can a low bandwidth conventional cable or DSL internet connection. You need something on the order of 8-12Mbps sustained for a compressed HD channel with today's tech, and that is to each customer.

Microsoft is looking towards the future in this respect. At some point, the telcos will have large numbers of homes wired for IPTV, and cable will start to catch up as well with the technology, and having a relatively cheap set top box that can play games and video, and get access to large volumes of content extremely quickly will be a big plus for Xbox360 "v2" owners.

RE: Holy...
By Lonyo on 1/8/2007 11:29:54 AM , Rating: 2
NTL don't have a limit on their 10meg anymore anyway

RE: Holy...
By Tsuwamono on 1/8/2007 12:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
Must be your area because i am with and they provide me with 3mbps down and 800kbps up and its always running roughly 2.96mbps when im downloading or uploading from my private server(hosted at a datacentre) so im not sure what company you were with but they obviously sucked.

I also live in montreal and my ping to Chicago is about 40ms and my ping to NY is about 15-20 ms. Unless you use Steam.. then its about 15 and 5 respectively because they have no idea how to calculate ping obviously

RE: Holy...
By Doughboy on 1/8/2007 10:08:57 AM , Rating: 2
I'll buy one when they give it a wireless Keyboard and Mouse. I can't understand why they don't do this already.
Also, they could make external hard drives work withe the USB plugs.

RE: Holy...
By AxemanFU on 1/9/2007 11:59:18 AM , Rating: 2
If MS would download firmware that would enable a keyboard/mouse, and we could get some key/mouse combos standardized for Xboxes, and port some of the better FPS titles to XBOX, they could bring in a lot more PC gamers. conventional console controllers still totally suck for FPS games that don't have "aim assist" or largely eliminate the need for precision and speedy reflexes in game design (a-la-Halo). If they'd do that, I'd seriously consider buying a console, anyways. Until then, the PC keeps getting upgraded.

RE: Holy...
By Lazarus Dark on 1/8/2007 11:49:40 AM , Rating: 2
A big problem that I see is that ISP's are still not ready to handle IPTV traffic on a large scale. It's already taking forever for services like FiOS to get to more than a handful of large cities. I can guarantee if I try to stream quality IPTV to my xbox for four hours a day or whatever when this launches, comcast will cut me off or slow my speed within a month because I know the local 'tubes' aren't big enough for that on a large scale.

On a side note, this and hdmi and bigger hdd plus the option of hddvd, well I wasn't really interested in 360 much before, but I must say I am starting to get tempted. Gears of War looks great and of course Halo 3 is on the way. I may just consider picking up a v2 360 come next christmas.

RE: Holy...
By drubly on 1/8/2007 3:00:36 PM , Rating: 2
I think XBOX 360 has got Sony beat

now only if the xbox 360 could brush my teeth....

RE: Holy...
By jarman on 1/9/2007 1:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
...or clean my apartment.

RE: Holy...
By crazydrummer4562 on 1/8/2007 5:51:55 PM , Rating: 2
The HD just pops out when you press a button...So yes it would be interchangeable

Still a far cry...
By Funksultan on 1/8/2007 7:59:00 AM , Rating: 1
The Media Center Extender is great and all, but it still can't decode DIVX, XVID, or really anything but the 4 basic media formats (including wmv). If this new generation fixes that, great, otherwise, it's just Microsoft clutching at straws with subpar hardware.

RE: Still a far cry...
By therealnickdanger on 1/8/2007 8:38:34 AM , Rating: 2
Just install Transcode360 on your MCE machine and you can watch everything. Although I would greatly prefer NATIVE decoding of all video formats - especially raw VOB files.

RE: Still a far cry...
By ViperROhb34 on 1/8/2007 1:02:53 PM , Rating: 2
Since most Xbox 360 owners know what going on with their console.. you're going to get pegged as a fanboy who doesn't know anything except old reasons why 360 is still a fry cry from whatever you beleive it should be.
The link above is a program you can install and run most formats.. and they now have a new Windows Vista version listed somewhere there..

RE: Still a far cry...
By ViperROhb34 on 1/8/2007 1:06:25 PM , Rating: 2
Also.. about the subpar hardware comment you made. It makes no sense. Nintendo is using hardware nowhere near 360 or PS3 and they are doing great.

Besides.. its not the hardware its the software that plays ( or doesnt play ) video file formats

RE: Still a far cry...
By crazydrummer4562 on 1/8/2007 5:53:54 PM , Rating: 2
Eh I'd label the wii hardware very subpar. Not so much the 360. And even that what are you expecting, it's a CONSOLE, not a computer.

RE: Still a far cry...
By Funksultan on 1/9/2007 10:41:03 AM , Rating: 1
Sigh. The original Xbox 360 doesn't have the juice to push 1080p at 60fps. It's a hardware limitation.

Gates is looking for this to be the multimedia gateway for the next few years. That's a problem, and now they are patching it with a smaller die (more power effectively, as they will bump the clock) and a larger hard drive. These are things that Sony won't have to deal with. They have the processor, and they allow for user-swapped HDs. Granted, MSoft has great media options, but they are still trying very hard to pace.

Yes, I want software-supported codecs. They are a requirement for a media center, at least they will be until bandwidth increases dramatically.

It's nice, just in my mind, it's still a "fry cry" from being a perfect fit. *grin* @ ViperROhb34

By crystal clear on 1/8/2007 5:49:45 AM , Rating: 2
Some of Bill Gates comments-

* "connected experiences" were now the most important part of new technologies.

* People want to do things with their content across multiple platforms

* Young people spend more time with their Windows PC than watching TV,

* Mr Bach told delegates that Microsoft's work in developing IPTV (internet protocol TV), which allows programmes to be delivered live or on demand over an internet connection, would soon come to Xbox 360 games consoles.

By the end of 2007 partner companies will be offering IPTV services to Xbox 360 owners, he said.

I think enough indications were given,what to expect from the Xbox & the direction MS will go into.

RE: Gates
By crystal clear on 1/8/2007 6:07:25 AM , Rating: 4
Bill Gates: 2007 International Electronics Show
2007 International Consumer Electronics Show
Bill Gates Keynote
Las Vegas, Nevada
January 7, 2007

CES Stream
By therealnickdanger on 1/8/2007 8:35:36 AM , Rating: 2
If you've got 90 minutes to kill, watch the whole CES keynote address. I watched it last night and even if you strip away the fluff, Microsoft is definitely on track for entertainment domination.

RE: CES Stream
By mrgq912 on 1/8/2007 5:59:51 PM , Rating: 2
Entertainment dominations is correct.

I think everyone got a little carried away congratulating MS xbox and kicking sony pS3 to the ground. This IPTV could vault MS into everyones living room very quickly. Then MS will have control over our offices and our living room. We need sony to start providing adequate competition.

The one thing I like about sony is that you can natively watch any file type (even divx I believe) on the PS3. To be considered a true media center MS xbox needs to offer this. But if it is the only player in the market, then MS can exert its will on us.

Best HTPC ever
By OrSin on 1/8/2007 9:02:19 AM , Rating: 2
I got the 360 and have only play games on it twice, but I use it every day to stream video. I have had 3 HTPC and this one is so much easier to use. My 6 years can play her dvd's and even stream any of the video I have for her on the PC. I just get a scnd Big scrren for my bedroom and will probably get another 360 just for the movies. And knowing i can get a HDdvd and move it to any xbox or computer I own is huge plus for me.

Whats funny is Sony PS3 was made to take over the living room and no one is using it for its media services. IF bit torrent dies then I will never use my xbox, but as long as I can get full movies and TV series in HD with no commericals I use my Xbox more than I use cable.

RE: Best HTPC ever
By michal1980 on 1/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: Best HTPC ever
By TheDoc9 on 1/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Best HTPC ever
By sdsdv10 on 1/8/2007 4:45:11 PM , Rating: 3
How do you know he's stealing it?

OP said...
IF bit torrent dies then I will never use my xbox...

I don't believe it is unreasonable assumption that he is pirating his content if he gets it all from bit torrents, is it?

By obiwanbill on 1/8/2007 9:51:20 AM , Rating: 2
If you don't live in the US, where are you going to buy the video content?

I know as a Canadian, we can't buy Video content up here on places like iTunes, because the broadcasters protect their market. How about for the UK? Or the rest of Europe? Or Australia? What's the current availability of Video content for purchase there?


By AxemanFU on 1/9/2007 12:02:45 PM , Rating: 2
Start writing your representatives. That's about all I can say.

just build yourself an HTPC
By mmm coffee on 1/8/2007 6:34:33 PM , Rating: 2
XBOX media center and the likes is all retarded. Just build yourself an HTPC with a wireless keyboard & mouse, wifi, and a good component out or HDMI video card and you're freakin' set.

RE: just build yourself an HTPC
By qwerty1 on 1/8/2007 10:53:16 PM , Rating: 2
It will all depend on the price of this new XBOX. If it's anything like the $multi-grand media center version of the PS3, then forget it. But if prices tack on by say $50-100, then many would indeed be interested seeing how it's price would be fairly competitive for what it offers and common consumers aren't exactly very motivated nor have the know-how to build a custom HTPC.

I'll say it again...
By Dfere on 1/8/2007 8:02:24 AM , Rating: 2
Marvelous bastards. The whole world will love what they want and hate them for doing this. When they lost the race to be a "set top" box provider, they came up with the xbox. Now with the xbox 360...their marketing strategy is clear.....(Actually it sorta was with the xbox, just that the other pieces were not quite in place- hardware, % broadband, etc). I am not a console guy- but to get an "easy" HTPC with games.. not bad. Of course I think it would be the typical MS route- try to add remote music streaming etc- probably would not be feasible. Then most enthusiasts will not like the lack of "open" features vis a vis a "true" HTPC.. and so on.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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